Technology, for many people, may feel like a mishmash of applications and hardware interjecting itself into the day-to-day. And, with that description, they’re not entirely wrong. The world is now a hodgepodge of apps and online systems that are both completely foreign and incredibly necessary.
In essence, technology can be both savior and enemy. When it is whirring along, facilitating the next transaction or strategic effort, it is a friend and ally; however, when technology impedes productivity, interjects unnecessarily or simply breaks down, it is no longer welcomed. The goal, as a leader, is to learn how to get back to the place where technology is a welcomed friend and part of that is understanding the trends that come with it.
While trends in digital continually change; virtually everyone in the workforce, from Gen Z to boomer, from emerging leaders to top board members, is affected and influenced by those evolving trends. Employers, therefore, must maintain a finger on the pulse of technology innovation regardless of their industry or customer bases in order to maintain a smooth operational flow and competitive positioning.
Read on to hear ways companies can capitalize on technology, enabling it to add value vs. being a drag on productivity and morale.
Leverage Technology to...
1. Increase the Human Factor. “ … if you’re in human resources or in charge of training employees, you are now in a position to not only transform your career, but also transform your organization because of the positive impact technology can have on the human factor,” according to Daniel Burrus in the article, “Leverage Technology to Increase Your Organization’s Human Factor” at BigThink.com.
Technology enables those in HR, from hiring managers to training employees, to bring in the best talent and to find the best ways to ensure retention. The ability to vet individuals online, on sites like LinkedIn or Glassdoor, or through recruiting websites like Greenhouse, means that the noise of unfit candidates is instantaneously removed.
Hiring managers are able to dedicate more time to actually getting to know and aligning with applicants who fit the bill and are now just being sifted through on the interview process.
The same goes with those who are training new employees, the ability to create dynamic hiring experiences and to bring the company itself to life through technology helps trainers make an easier, on-the-spot sell on why being loyal to this company is a win-win for all. It also allows for added one-on-one training because all of the logistics and details that may have typically been imparted by a trainer themselves can now be compressed and digitalized thanks to technology.
2. Improve Business Processes. Time and resources are typically a company’s most valuable assets. When technology steps in, you’re able to leverage those in new and dynamic ways. Take some time to research (or set up a team of willing employees who are eager to bring the company into the digital age more aggressively) to find ways to transition time-consuming tasks into more seamlessly time-freeing ones.
The right technology could significantly help cut down on the time and cost a process takes to fulfill. For example, instead of meeting to go over a report with printed copies and then needing to edit together, employees could use a program like Google Docs to make changes in real time. The gap that any new business process would create would then allow the company to really delve into new avenues and find new competitive advantages!
3. Tap Into New Discovery Processes. Being agile and alert is imperative, when making sure your company is on the right side of technology. Traditional advertising is no longer the only way to have a leg up on your competition. Technology simplifies the discovery process for businesses by making everything a click away. The goal is to make sure that your company has all its boxes checked when it comes to a website, SEO and relevant outreach channels – like social media or a consistent newsletter.
4. Manage Customer Relationships. Technology has simplified the process of making sure your customers are happy customers! If you’re an early adopter of technology, dedicating resources to creating bots can help you create a friendly user experience right on your website, while also helping your customers feel immediately heard through their one-on-one chat.
The same instantaneous response could also be achieved by having a social media platform where customers can send in their concerns and a dedicated person is in charge with responding to them. While social media makes it easier to respond to negative feedback, it also makes for the best place to celebrate positive ones. For instance, if you’re an ice cream shop and you’ve noticed your guests are constantly taking pictures of their sweet treats, start up an Instagram page and share their photos!
5. Build Websites That Boost Sales. Whether you’re building your first website or your tenth the overall concepts are the same. You’ll want to leverage technology to build easy to navigate websites that compellingly market products and services value. The key is to make sure the website is clear on how to take next steps toward making a purchase.
Each page should have its own purpose (and only one!) so as not to confuse those who visit. Using technology to give your offerings a specific home means that you have a tangible place to point others to should you have no business cards.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of how technology can take your business to the next level – and shouldn’t be ignored just because it’s often packaged for millennials – you can dive into the more experiential facets of it.
For instance, artificial technology now runs the gambit from IBM’s Watson to Amazon’s Alexa — each equipped to make the most of your time by cutting down on trivial tasks. For example , “Watson can read 40 million documents in 15 seconds, understanding grammar and context throughout, and can then answer multi-part questions on the material,” according to John Divine in the article, Artificial Intelligence Stocks: 10 Companies Betting on AI. While Alexa acts as your own personal assistant — through Amazon’s Echo device — and answers everything from your questions about the weather to the music you’d like to listen to.
Regardless of where you stand on the spectrum of understanding and using technology, it’s important to note that its benefits are indisputable. It can help bring your business to the next level while still maintaining the same level of human interaction for which your business may be known. The great part about studying up on these innovations is also that it gives you a deep understanding of what may not be a good fit for you, rather than wondering what you may have been missing out on!
The fact remains: every employee is at a different stage of his or her journey. Engage your workforce in a way they can relate to by downloading Glassdoor’s Customizable Employee Engagement Templates, and be sure you’re doing everything you can to break down biases and build a diverse workforce with Glassdoor’s Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace.